Copying answers, copying written work, or giving yourself an advantage on exams is cheating. Cheating is not doing the complete amount of work. If there were to be a Wall of Shame for cheaters at CVHS, everyone would be on it.
I walked into my fifth period class and it hit me. I forgot I had homework due. It was in that frantic, heated moment when I decided to cheat. My friend handed his homework to me without question when I asked to copy. Bam! I had instant homework.
Did I feel guilty for cheating? No.
It’s easy to say that cheating is morally wrong. It’s a violation of ethics. It has no integrity. But, it’s so easy to cheat and to justify the means. I didn’t have time, and it will only be this once. I forgot there was homework.
It’s easy to justify getting answers when I desperately want them. It’s easy to justify giving answers to my friends when they need them. This mutual relationship is the unofficial friend code.
In the past ten years at CVHS, from 2002-2012, classes have submitted 41,669 papers to TurnItIn.com for electronic scrutiny. The web site reported that 842 papers had 75 percent or more of their content plagiarized and 1,558 papers had 50 to 74 percent of their content plagiarized. About 6 percent of all papers were plagiarized.
Our friends hand us the answers. We help our friends at any cost, even when we really should say no. Although we allow cheating to happen, we all know it’s wrong. We copy discretely and try not to get caught. When we cheat, we don’t shout, “Hey everybody, look at me! I’m cheating!”
We believe cheating is commonplace. Heck, even teachers are caught cheating on licensing exams and standardized tests. The rule for us is: “Cheat. Don’t get caught.”
We cheat in an attempt to score better. We cheat because we have pressures from society, our teachers, our parents, our friends, our siblings, and ourselves to “Go Big or Go Home.” Tell them to give us our space.
Cheating is all around a bad idea. The person who we’re cheating off of is most likely a bonehead like ourselves and we aren’t going to get the right answer. If we have the answers, we respect ourselves, our friends, and our work. We offer help but don’t lend out our papers. If we cheat, we give ourselves bad reputations.
Doing the work assigned builds up one’s integrity. Having integrity means doing what is morally right and being trustworthy. Keep your good name intact. Don’t cheat. Set an example for others by speaking up against cheating. Not saying anything is allowing it to happen.
In the end, school gives us each ant-sized ink blobs on a piece of paper as results. We get triangles, rectangles, circles, maybe semicircles, and hopefully not squares. These shapes on the piece of paper do nothing to describe us as individual persons, not even to our own selves. We are each infinity times more valuable than ink blots.
If we have integrity and a willingness to learn, we can go wherever and do whatever we want to do. We will succeed no matter whether or not we know what kumquats multiplied by oranges equals. We don’t need to cheat to know either. We will be hired for the job because we are smart and have good morals, not because we got good grades in school. Be of moral character, do your best, be confident, own up to mistakes, fix those mistakes, and don’t give up. That’s how to succeed.